Bear broke into Gatlinburg cabin, made off with candy and two beers

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Vacationers in Gatlinburg, TN got quite the surprise after a bear broke into their rental cabin and ransacked the place, making off with candy and two beers. Michelle Eberhart told CNN that the bear opened a locked door and entered the cabin while she and a friend were chatting inside. The women ran upstairs and hid in a bedroom while the bear poked around.

Though Eberhart couldn’t see what was happening downstairs, she says she thinks a second bear entered the cabin, too, and that both bears were pretty active. They knocked over the garbage and “scratched up a lot of stuff.” Ultimately, they made off with five pounds of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, a pound of M&M’s, two pounds of Sour Patch Kids, two bags of potato chips, a tub of peanut butter pretzels and two bags of Dove salted caramel—as well as two beers, two Diet Cokes and some allergy medicine.

Bear breaks into Gatlinburg cabin

Two friends were on vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee when a black bear forced its way into their rental cabin.Video provided/Michelle Eberheart

Posted by WRTV on Saturday, May 9, 2020

Eventually, officers were able to shoo the bears outside and away from the cabin. Apparently, though, the bears came back for another visit! Thankfully, they did not get back in the cabin.

They are trying to get in again.

Posted by Michelle Eberhart on Friday, May 8, 2020

As the trip continued with fun hikes and beautiful views, the guests continued to run into bears!

And now they are back at the cabin…edit these are different bears because their ears are tagged.

Posted by Michelle Eberhart on Monday, May 11, 2020

Whoa. This is starting to freak me out. These are also different bears. This was two big ones and one little. That’s at least 11 distinctly different bears. I don’t think I am sleeping much tonight.

Posted by Michelle Eberhart on Monday, May 11, 2020

Michelle Ray was one of the vacationers and recounts the event:

“While we enjoyed our quiet morning catching up with each other after several months of not seeing each other the bear forced its way through the back door. We were just sitting there when (the other) Michelle started pointing too scared to speak. I saw the bear break the doorframe and enter just feet from where we were sitting. I jumped over the couch and got Michelle out of her frozen shock while yelling, stomping, and doing anything I could think of to discourage the bear from continuing in. 

Before the bear entered the cabin bears hadn’t even crossed my mind. I have been to the area many times and only rarely seen bears and when I had they were at a distance. It never occurred to me that I would have a close encounter.  To think back on it now I believe we were both initially in shock. There was a lot of screaming and nervous laughter. I was focused on getting us upstairs to safety right away.

We probably spent 15 minutes locked in a bedroom freaking out before we came out to where you see in the videos.  When it was over we were just relieved. Nobody was hurt and the damage was minimal, so it was just a wild experience we would forever share. It did become frightening when the bears continued to return. 

In the hours and days that followed there were tons of interview requests and licensing offers. In the end, we just enjoyed the interviews and continued to share the videos freely. In the difficult times of Covid lockdowns with my own mother suffering and currently in ICU the story was a welcome distraction from it all.”   

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